Q: Overview of Agile? Q: Difference between Agile and Scrum? Think of Agile not as a set of practices and tools, but a set of values and principles focused on how to interact with customers and each other and how we approach delivering the outcome. That is, more of mindset we want to have to accomplish a few things. Where it might get confusing is that Agile and Scrum, or some of the other Agile based frameworks, are both an “iterative, incremental and disciplined approach to product development emphasizing people, results, collaboration and responsiveness and it transcends mere practices and techniques.” This commonality comes from Agile and is reused of the thinking in the frameworks which preceded the Agile Manifesto, 2001. Whereas the manufacturing of goods before computers was focused on work being stable, repetitive work directed to workers via a command and control supervisor and teacher, the work performed after the creation of computers, even that work not done on a commuter, is more knowledge work. The new knowledge work required learn by doing and failing. Understanding the work to deliver. This is why Scrum, which was published prior to the creation of the Agile Manifesto, reinforces an “iterative, incremental and disciplined approach to product development which emphasizes people, results, collaboration and responsiveness as well. Scrum, as a framework, has practices and rules where Agile does not identify any of these. The Scrum Guide contains three roles, role responsibilities, a time box called a sprint, four events (sometimes called ceremonies), and three artifacts. An order when the events occur, who is required, artifacts created and artifacts used. Agile has four values and twelve principles focused on how to interact with customers and each other and how we approach delivering the outcome. This question comes up often in the beginner session. Therefore, there is a Scrum introduction topic in the TE forum.
What is an EPIC? Using the Scrum introduction topic in the TE forum, there is a Product Backlog artifact in the Scrum life-cycle picture, lower left. It has three levels represented by three colors. Lets begin at the bottom of the Product Backlog artifact. Notice it is larger than the items above it. The reason is that the new items come in large and defined at a (high) Product Portfolio level. The EPIC detail is what is sufficient to determine if this fits the product vision and shall product funding be spent to deliver. Next is the middle yellow items. These are smaller in size since the (blue) epics are being redefined as product features. Smaller than an epic, this item can complete in five time boxes or less. Lets say one quarter of a year. These features will also includes acceptance criterias. It is how I know when the feature is done. If features take weeks to complete, it is safe to say that the team will refine each feature to fit a time box (sprint/iteration). Ideally, complete in a few days not weeks. This refinement yields the pink box called a User Story. The user story may be defined " As a role/persona, I need ..something.. so that ...I provide a business benefit." The user story also contains a small set of acceptance criterias since I need to know when it done. These user stories will yield an outcome which stands on it own. It is small, but it is complete. It has the necessary work to create the user interface, screen logic, behind the scene connections, etc. It may be only a small slice of a larger outcome, but it an complete enough to integrate into production. Q: Tools used in Agile? As we finished this discussion, it became apparent that there is not a tool, but tools used based on a number of company and team guidelines. Please experiment to find what works for your team with the team. - Product backlog item and work task management: In no order, Microsoft DevOps (Azure), JIRA, Trello, and blank wall. Wall still works for collocated teams and it helps build the culture just as well as the electronic tools. KanbanFlow and Kanbanchi is another free online tool which allows you to manage your projects with the help of Kanban boards. Tidy Board was mentioned as a free Index cards, flash cards, project management, and todos tool. - Almost face-to-face communication: Zoom, Skype, Teams, and Webex are common. Some use Slack as well for one on one. - Instance messaging: Slack, Teams, and your phone. Tools like Slack and Teams are often used during a video conference due to it sharing and retaining of information exchanged. - Simulating an office environment remotely. Sococo is the online workplace where distributed teams come to work together each day, side-by-side. No matter where team members might be. This too a team messaging feature as well. - Our Community of Practice collaboration, request topics: Google Jamboard, Lean Coffee Table tools, and blank wall/window. Wall/Window still works for collocated people, such as the St. Pete Lean Coffee, and it helps build the culture just as well as the electronic tools. Lean Coffee Table caters to Lean Coffee and scheduled meetings. - Electronic white board: This is a long list so we touched on a few. Google Jamboard, Murali, and Miro where the first three mentioned. Whereas Jamboard is whiteboard with electronic stickies, Murali and Miro provide predefined templates. ZOOM has an electronic whiteboard for the duration of the call. Q: Mindset of SDLC and Agile? Conversation was focused on the similarities and differences between a Waterfall and Agile based SDLC. Similarities. There is some form Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing during every time box; however, not to the same degree. The PO will have a ranked list of requests that need to get done. There is planning and executing. There is monitoring and variance identification and adjustments. There is closing aspect in Review/Demo and Lesson Learned/Retrospective. Difference. If the trend continues to product value streams, I do not see project or project charters. Initiating for a waterfall project has a team creation step for the phase. In an Agile based project, team building and collaboration is encouraged so the team will not be breaking up. The team moves onto a new product work request/EPIC and not a new project. This is one way to determine team predictable metrics on how well they deliver outcomes. Keeping the same team members eliminates the some of the initiating or closing tasks. There is no Gannt chart! It will not be predictable. In Agile T-Shaped team members and DevOps mindset is encouraged. The concepts of continuous integration and deploy would be new to the Waterfall team. Unless you have a Waterfall four week project, the scope and execution of Monitoring & Controlling will be different. There will be no command and control in work execution. Changes are viewed differently. Differences. The roles will be different depending on the framework being used. For example, Project Manager responsibilities transfers PO, Team, and Scrum Master roles.